This project will promote research between Orthodox Christian Theology and the sciences, and will make the Orthodox Church in North America a more active and visible part of the larger religion and science dialogue, first in North America and Canada, and then worldwide. In this project we will investigate the Orthodox relationship and reaction to the sciences but will engage the larger historical and geographical dimensions of the Orthodox world.
The result of this project will be to change the dynamics in the relationship between science and Christian theology by the infusion of the Eastern Christian perspective. The permanent and visible presence of this part of the Christian world cannot help but enrich the entire discussion and inform those already activein the dialogue.
The question arises, what difference, if any, does an Eastern theological perspective bring to this discussion? How might the relationship with science be different were it to be viewed from an Orthodox perspective? Is there such a thing as a single Orthodox voice? How do the views of Orthodox Christians in North America compare with those in countries in which Orthodoxy has been present since the earliest centuries? What is or should be, the Orthodox view of topics in science like biological evolution, cosmology, and so on? These are some of the challenges that face us. Furthermore, there are fundamental issues of the compatibility of modern science and Orthodox Christianity, and the reality of science as a social entity and how that affects us?
To answer these kinds of questions requires knowledge at many levels, both academic and experiential. The discussion is broad and requires a foundational knowledge of Church history (East and West), theology, philosophy, the history of science, the sciences themselves, and the social sciences and humanities which help to elucidate non-scientific influences that have a bearing on the actual practice of science and its interactions in society. Because Orthodox Christianity is so heavily imbued with the experience of God, we should not ignore the testimony of the saints and elders as regards knowledge of God and the creation. We do not intend to convey a one single point of view because the dialogue is a learning process rather than something that has already been decided. Differences are encouraged so that we may hear and learn from a wide range of thought.
Foundational to this dialogue and to Orthodox Christianity, is humility. It would be difficult and even dangerous to approach these kinds of questions without a proper sense of the limited capacities we as humans possess and the danger of pretense and arrogance. This humility is borne out by the very real restrictions of the human as animal; our sensory limitations, our human reason (as opposed to something universal), our finiteness if all matters. Furthermore, we are attempting to discern and explain things related to that which is truly infinite, immutable and transcendent, and not some supersized human ego, and that means our knowing is always confined and within a context.
Finally, modern science is a kind of science and we must always keep this in mind. It is not the only possible approach to a systematic and rational study of the world, though it may be the most rigorous and exacting of any method devised thus far.
For participation in the project
This project derives from an academic environment and therefore it is imperative that we maintain certain standards and guidelines for participation in regards to the articles we accept to place on the website.
The main focus of articles should regard the interface of Orthodoxy and science. We reserve the right not to list an article for various reasons, including space. Sometimes, for clarification, an article may be sent out to recognized scholars with appropriate credentials in their fields in order to ascertain that certain minimum standards are maintained. However, these guidelines have to do with good science or scholarship and not in order to present one certain perspective.
We seek to have many voices represented. The dialogue with science is understood as a learning process rather than something that has already been decided. Deeply held differences are encouraged so that the range of thought can be brought into the open so we may come to a more common understanding as is possible within the realities of the human condition. However, civility in regards to the discussion is expected, and no personal attacks will be permitted.